An Art Exercise Video For You {...Words Are Their Own Art Form}

This is a simple but enlightening grown-up art activity I put together last week, based on an old coaching exercise of mine.  I adapted it to artists, and like all my coaching material, I did it myself first.  It was powerful for me.

This is an exercise to help you in identifying and affirming your own artistic style.

For about the past two years, my art techniques and approaches have been undergoing a slow but very perceptible change.

 I am finding the courage to be radically simple in my subject matter and palette. And make no mistake, in this mixed media world I know and love so well, it takes courage to, in the words of country singer Luke Bryan, "Strip It Down".

 (Which happens to be my current favorite country song...but I digress...)

My processes in reaching a finished piece are still at times complex and varied, but the finished piece tends far more towards a still simplicity than it did, say, three years ago.

In life as in art.  Or is it in art as in life?  I don't know and I don't care.  All I know is nothing but bare, stripped down simplicity inspires me these days.

"Strip it down...down...down..."

( know you want to click that link, up there.  I dare you to listen only once.)

This was an exercise in writing down all the words that define who I am as an artist - words that describe the sort of work I want to put out into the world...and then painting those words.

Here's how to do it:

First, choose a few words that define your artistic bent. {Example: bright.  light.  complex.  layered.  Or....simple.  spare.}

Then, look up synonyms for your word or words. Don't forget the names of the colors in your palette...I promise, that's fun too.  Break out your old Thesaurus with the yellow pages.  Seriously.  Don't use your computer, because that goes against the whole spirit of this exercise.  We're tossing technology, and stripping it down...down...down...

Sorry.  {I'm embarrassed to tell you I'm chair dancing, even as I type.}

Then, find synonyms for THOSE words.  Then THOSE words.  Let the word geek in you come out.  Keep going down the rabbit hole of discovery. List all the words that most deeply resonate with who you are as an artist.

 Then, write every. single. one. of. them.  Scrawl them as large as you dare, with willow stick on paper. Keep writing, smudging, and layering. Then paint over all of it.

Lastly, I don't care what you think of the finished thing.  I want you to display it somewhere.  Honor your own effort - you applaud everyone else's.  Give the work of your own hands a special spot.

 This is an exercise I've always used in my coaching.  I've sat and watched women tear up...I've watched their tears a woman's own descriptive words take hold of her own tender heart.  Let's never forget that words really are that powerful.

{Since someone always asks: this sketch and paint took exactly 12 minutes in real time. Simple.}
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